U.S. Busts – August 2008

RIAA Anti-Piracy Seizure Information

California | Georgia | Michigan | New York | Pennsylvania


August 7, 2008 – The Western Regional Office assisted detectives from the Los Angeles PD in busting a large distribution operation. During the search warrant, investigators were able to identify thousands of counterfeit CDs. Unlike many large distribution operations, the CDs that officials uncovered were all manufactured and pressed. Officials also learned that the operation played a large part in distributing product throughout the Western United States. The seizure of 110,0124 CDs and 6,957 DVDs will hopefully put a dent in the distribution of counterfeit CDs on the West Coast. The pirated merchandise was valued at an estimated $1.3 million.


August 14, 2008 – Officials called on RIAA Investigators to help uncover a large operation. Officials with the Athens-Clarke Police Department/Narcotics section enlisted the help of RIAA’s Southern Region. Investigators immediately responded to the call for help. When investigators arrived, they were notified about an individual operating two stores that sold suspected pirated CDs and narcotics. In order to help officials gain search warrants into the locations, investigators posed as consumers and made undercover purchases. Investigators were able to determine the products from both stores were in fact pirated. The illegal product then gave officials the probable cause they needed to uncover more than illegal CDs. The pirated CDs helped officials obtain the search warrants to four locations. The first two were identified as retail stores owned by the same criminal. Inside the retail locations, officials were able to seize 15 pirated sound recordings and suspected counterfeit clothing. When officials gained entry to the residences, however, a much larger operation was unveiled. Not only did they uncover 173 CDRs, but they also found the narcotics operation they were looking for. Officials entered the residence and seized an astounding 15 pounds of marijuana, two handguns, one automatic weapon and over $30,000 in cash. Two men were finally arrested along with five vehicles forfeited to the impound.


August 22, 2008 – Officials responded to a ‘shots fired’ call on Detroit’s east side and found more than just illegal gun activity. When officials made it to the residence, they found bullet holes in the front of the house. A man answered the door and politely let officers in. When officers entered the home, however, they discovered why someone might be shooting at the front porch. Officials walked through the living room and discovered hundreds of DVDs and CDs, along with several computers and flat-screen TVs. As the officers searched upstairs, they uncovered an office filled with numerous illegal substances. It was no surprise the room was the same area where police saw the bullet holes from the outside. Among the substances discovered by officials were various amounts of ecstasy pills, heroin, marijuana, fake IDs, a machine for making credit cards, 500 blank credit cards and three guns. A Detroit official called the bust one of the largest cases of identity fraud the department had seen in some time.

New York

August 4, 2008 – Investigators in New York helped shut down a video store engaging in illegal activity. Along with the NYPD’s BDA’s Detective Squad, investigators assisted in executing a search warrant at an illegal video store. Upon entering the Brooklyn location, officials discovered an illegal video sales operation. After walking up the stairs, officials entered a room above the video store. Inside, they discovered around 30,000 to 40,000 CDs and DVDs along with six computer towers. Officials were able to arrest four individuals from the illegal video store. They also seized 64 burners, 5,600 CDRs, 2,964 music videos and 26, 610 DVDRs.

August 5, 2008 – After the large burner lab was discovered in Brooklyn on August 4, 2008, investigators helped locate another manufacturing operation on August 5. Working alongside members of the NYPD 33 Pct, the New York Office assisted in executing a search warrant at another burner lab. Inside the residence, officials discovered and seized 36 burners and 7,750 Latin CDRs.


August 15, 2008 – Detectives from the Philly Police worked alongside RIAA Investigators during the several-month-long investigation. After obtaining the probable cause needed, investigators worked with detectives to uncover the large distribution/manufacturing center. Inside the residence, officials first stumbled upon a distribution center in the basement. During their search, they were able to locate and seize nearly 10,000 counterfeit music CDs and movie DVDs. Moving on to the second floor, detectives discovered a very organized manufacturing operation. As they entered the room, a collection of burner drawers began to open, one after another. A total of 124 burners in all. The counterfeiters were caught in the act of burning. In questioning the main suspect who operated the facility, detectives were told he had planned to sell the operation a mere three hours later. He told officials he was getting out of the music piracy business.

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